Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame inducts 11 honorees

The Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame, now in its seventh year of commending and celebrating women-owned businesses and their successes, inducted a new group of women entrepreneurs and those who value their contributions at the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas in December. During the ceremony presented by the American Institute of Diversity & Commerce, honorees from around the country were applauded for excellence in entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship.

Jo Ann Brumit accepts from Lynn Scott


KARLEE Co. Inc., Garland, Texas. A pioneer in the male-dominated world of manufacturing, Jo Ann Brumit is CEO and chairman of woman-owned KARLEE.
The company manufactures machine parts and sheet metal fabrications and performs integrations for a wide range of clients, including those in the communications, defense, aerospace and medical fields. Brumit joined KARLEE in 1982 with a commitment to create a global organization focused on quality and has continuously led the company to new heights.

Sharon Castillo accepts from Theresa Harrison


SB Services Inc., Grayslake, Illinois. Sharon Castillo is the founder and principal of SB Services Inc., a management consulting company focused on business process improvement with expertise in supplier diversity and corporate sustainability. Before launching SB Services, she gained a wide range of experience and skills while working for a Fortune 500 company and several small consulting firms. Castillo is a globally recognized public speaker on supply chain issues, including supplier diversity.

Diane Sears accepts from Billie Bryant Schultz


DiVerse Media LLC, Orlando, Florida. An outspoken advocate for women-owned businesses, Diane Sears is founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, where she assists clients with marketing strategy projects, including nonfiction books, research, white papers, event planning, online marketing and social media. The company has helped write and edit more than 75 books on business, entrepreneurship, human resources and self-improvement. Sears is the author of the book “Tapping Your Inner Entrepreneur: Making the Move from Employee to Business Owner.”

Blanca Robinson accepts from Debbie Hurst

WBE Advocate

Blanca Robinson A torchbearer for the advancement of female entrepreneurs for 17 years, Robinson is the outgoing president of the Metairie, Louisiana-based Women’s Business Enterprise Council South, one of 14 regional partner organizations of the Women’s Business Enterprise national Council. Having taken the helm in 1998, she was WBEC South’s first employee, charged with moving the organization from a volunteer-managed entity to a professionally staffed entity with territory expanded to four surrounding states.

Lynn A. Boccio accepts from Bill Alcorn

Corporate Advocate

Lynn A. Boccio, Esquire A successful trial lawyer prior to joining Avis Budget Group Inc. in 1996, Boccio blazed a new trail for herself and the car rental giant as she developed, organized and implemented the supplier diversity team. Today, she leads the company’s supplier diversity team and oversees the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program at 238 airport locations. Boccio serves as a mentor for Avis Budget Group’s Women’s Leadership Group and is WBEnC board chair.

Benita Fortner accepts from Jim Holloway

Corporate Advocate

Benita Fortner Fortner is the director of supplier diversity for Raytheon Co., a position she assumed in 2000 after serving as the socioeconomic program manager for the Waltham, Massachusettsbased defense contractor. Before joining Raytheon, she held numerous management positions during a 28-year career at Hughes Aircraft Co. As procurement manager at Hughes, she was instrumental in significantly increasing the number of corporate agreements awarded to small minorityand women-owned suppliers, implementing supplier customer feedback sessions and fostering second-tier alliances.

Gene Tabor accepts from Laura Taylor

Corporate Advocate

Gene Tabor The foundation for women’s business enterprises’ successes was set when Tabor joined Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. in 1987 and saw firsthand the quality and innovation inherent in many womenand minority-owned suppliers. Before his recent retirement, he was general manager of procurement of indirect and production materials for Toyota. During his 28 years with Toyota, Tabor also lead the supplier diversity team, where he was instrumental in developing the automaker’s current women’s business enterprise initiative.

Indra Nooyi

Chief Executive Officer Award

Indra Nooyi In 2006, nooyi became the first female CEO in PepsiCo’s history. Today, she is considered one of the most powerful women in business, and PepsiCo is one of the world’s top-performing food and beverage companies. nooyi’s belief that diversity is a business imperative has enabled PepsiCo to better understand its consumers and innovate to meet their needs. Earlier this year, WBEnC named the snack and beverage company as one of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises.

Amanda Brown accepts from Carrie Kirby

Organization Award

National Women’s Business CouncilLed by executive director Amanda Brown and presidentially appointed chair Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley, nWBC is an independent, nonpartisan source of advice and counsel on matters of importance to women business owners. The council provides research on the issues impacting women in business, provides a platform for the expansion and improved opportunities for women and their enterprises and makes policy recommendations to the president, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Susan Au Allen accepts from Ricardo Barrientos

Organization Award

US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education FoundationUnder the direction of Susan Au Allen, Washington, D.C.-based USPAACC is the country’s oldest and largest organization representing Asian-American-owned businesses. Created in 1984, the chamber has promoted and propelled economic growth through educational and professional opportunities for Asian-Americans and their business partners in corporate, government and small minority communities. USPAACC is the premier educational, training and networking organization. Its advocacy work has improved the futures and fortunes of Asian-Americans pursuing business excellence.

Tom Trotter accepts from Lynn Scott and Bill Alcorn

Trailblazer Award

Tom Trotter Even though Trotter was never directly responsible for supplier diversity during his 40-year career at IBM Corp., the company selected him as its diversity executive of the year, thanks to his diversity advocacy. After retiring as IBM’s director of north America operations in 2008, he maintained his role on the front lines of supplier diversity by chairing the Senior Advisory Council of the Women’s Business Council Southwest and serving as an advisory board member for Women’s Enterprise magazine. He is also the board chairman of American Institute of Diversity and Commerce.